City of Campbell River staff: Cheviot Road safety can’t be addressed until drainage is fixed

Kerr: ‘As the main access for one of our elementary schools, it should be moved up the list’

Campbell River city council agrees with residents concerned about safety on and around Cheviot Road, but city staff say they can’t get to work on those problems until they deal with some drainage issues that have been of concern for some time.

In a letter received by council at its last meeting, Bruce Woytuik says it’s past time the city addressed the safety concerns on a street that does not have the capacity being asked of it.

“Having had a number of narrow escapes with pedestrians myself,” Woytiuk writes, “and witnessing too many, I am asking that the city look into the best way to improve the safety for everyone using this piece of city roadway.”

Chief amongst Woytuik’s concerns is the width of the road and the lack of sidewalks. Cheviot is he primary point of access for two neighbourhoods in the area, Woytuik says, as well as the main artery to Ripple Rock Elementary School – which recently also absorbed the students from Discovery Passage Elementary when that facility closed. He also says the sightlines up need to be opened up for traffic attempting to turn off Cheviot onto Petersen.

“I live within a block of this street, and I agree that everything he pointed out (in his letter) and more is an issue in this location,” said Coun. Ron Kerr. He asked staff if there is anything currently planned to help address these issues, because if not, “as the main access for one of our elementary schools, it should be moved up the list.”

“The problem is compounded by the fact that there is a storm ditch that needs to be filled in,” said Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager.

Addressing those drainage issues, he said, is scheduled to happen this year, “which will facilitate at least a pedestrian walkway, and then in the future we can look at opportunities for things like widened shoulders, such as we’ve done on Petersen or possibly curb and sidewalk. That’s still undecided.”

Coun. Charlie Cornfield says this isn’t a new issue and he, too, wonders why it is taking so long to address it.

“This issue has been here for a long time,” Cornfield said, pointing out that safety concerns were brought up by parents and residents back when they initially decided to build Ripple Rock Elementary, “so that’s at least 10 years. Are we just going to look at the drainage issue, or are we going to look at what it would cost to do something so that when it comes time to do our strategic priorities we have a full package that we can look at?”

General manager Ron Neufeld said that once the drainage work is done, staff will look at the costs associated with other possible improvements and bring those back to council for consideration in their 2019 budget deliberations.